Reena S. Goodwin has spent her career in integrated marketing and communications, beginning with Sony Music and now as Founder of FACTEUR PR, an agency for creative businesses that she runs out of Cleveland.
Reena has worked with world-class organizations like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and Columbia Records She also currently serves on the communications committee of the American Advertising Federation of Cleveland.
How did you get started and how did come to start your own agency?
I’ve worked in marketing and PR now for almost 13 years (since college!), mostly on the client side of the industry. I’ve known in my heart for the last five or so years that I wanted to start my own company. Before beginning FACTEUR PR, I somewhat-accidentally launched my own DJ business, and managing convinced me that I was ready to shift my energies toward starting into my own marketing and PR firm.
I figured if I could make a business work “on accident,” imagine what I could accomplish if I was actually more intentional and passionate about it!
FACTEUR officially launched in 2016, and I haven’t looked back. Collaborating with creatives has been such a joy and an honor.
What are you focused on these days?
Our mission at FACTEUR PR is to assist creative brands and business with their PR, social media, content marketing, and digital creative needs.
My primary responsibilities include strategically fulfilling those needs for my clients, as well as everything from business development, accounting, and client relationship and retainment.
I also spend time creating downloadable digital resources, blogging, and managing our social media. I see these as important ways to engage with current and potential audiences while positioning our company as a valuable resource for brands and businesses.
How is your agency structured?
Our agency provides four core services: public relations, social media, content marketing, and digital creative services for brands and businesses that are creative-leaning in practice (that includes everything from architecture to food to wellness to art).
All of our services are scalable; we offer a la carte, project, and committed/retainer packages for solopreneurs to emerging and established brands.
"PR and marketing is so behind-the-scenes, so it’s especially nice when you’re publicly recognized for the work that you do"
What is the mood like in the office? What are you working on right now?
Specifically, I’m working on pitching and securing stories for the summer for clients with seasonal offerings in food and bridal, as well as building a couple of SquareSpace websites for new launches. To help motivate me and keep things fun in the office when things are so busy, I love listening to a playlist I made on Spotify, sipping plenty of coffee or matcha, and getting as much sunshine as I can access this time of year.
What is a recent success story that makes you especially proud?
It makes me especially proud when my clients succeed! I recently had a service-based client share with me that since hiring FACTEUR PR, her company has not only met their booking goals for the year, but they surpassed them all — early! I was proud of them and of course proud of our collaboration and hard work together.
Most meaningful moment in your career thus far?
PR and marketing is so behind-the-scenes, so it’s especially nice when you’re publicly recognized for the work that you do. Being invited to speak or present at a conference or getting a story written about you or your career journey are just a few of the most meaningful moments of my career so far. I never take those opportunities for granted.
Most glamorous moment in your career thus far?
I will have to say working the red carpet at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Having worked a lot with celebrities and rock stars, I don’t usually find myself star struck, but there’s always just something about sharing airspace with people like Renée Zellweger and Paul McCartney that is just so freaking cool.
Least glamorous moment in your career thus far?
Waking up at 3 a.m. to help a local TV camera crew set up for a live spot. I’m a morning person, but I don’t know how these folks do it every day!
PR can be stressful and full of rejection - how do you deal?
Despite any kind of failure, and there will of course be many in our careers, it’s so important to remember what is truly important at the end of the day — our families, our wellbeing, and our happiness — and making time for those things. Having a strong support network you can count on is critically important, or having a “business bestie” you can call. In terms of wellbeing, I start every single day with time for myself at the gym and eat a real breakfast afterwards. I work hard during the day and try to reserve my evenings and weekends for time with my husband. I think staying consistent with those “little things," can help prevent burnout. When you’re working with people so much of the time, it’s important to recharge. You can’t always afford a bad day in PR!
What do you wish more people understood about your job (or PR/Marketing in general?)
Something I try to often remind people is that PR is an investment that pays over time. It can help build your brand, but that brand isn’t going to be built in a day. Relationships take time and trust to build, so it’s important to start early when cultivating those relationships!
What are the pros and cons of operating in a smaller market?/What are a few local pubs/sites/influencers we should know?
I remember thinking when working in New York how everyone was doing amazing things, but it was sometimes harder to get noticed (or get your work or client’s work noticed) in such a saturated market. With the Internet, though, you can really extend your reach to larger markets like that without having to always be physically there. I don’t just work with Cleveland brands, but indeed Cleveland is a great place to start a business and have people, editors, and bloggers take notice. It really is not just about who you know but who knows you, and while there are less people to know here, there isn’t any shortage of very cool things happening. However, the distance from some of those larger markets can mean that relationships are more challenging to make. You can’t always invite a blogger or reporter to lunch on a whim! But thankfully with social media, a lot of those borders are lowered and your first introductions or collaborations can really happen on Twitter or Instagram. Making Nice in the Midwest (makingniceinthemidwest.com and @mandimakes on Instagram) and IHeartCleveland.com are just a couple local blogs I read regularly and just love.
What are you excited about right now in terms of industry trends?
I really love that the intersection of data and PR is becoming more important than ever. Just a couple years ago, marketers were spending time trying to legitimize the importance of analytics tracking. Now, campaigns have got to be more data-driven and data-measured when identifying audiences, seizing opportunities, and measuring successes.
What's the biggest challenge facing fashion/lifestyle communicators right now?
The constantly changing media landscape! You can spend all this time relationship building, and suddenly editors leave or jobs get shifted around. Additionally, it’s important to recognize that earning media still needs a budget. Sometimes, it’s not enough to just send an email. It can take an in-person visit, sending the product, or sometimes even a sponsored spend to get influencers and outlets to cover your client.
What advice do you have for your younger self?
You are not defined by the job you have but by how full of a life you live. That can certainly include your job, but your job title is not the first or only value of your self-worth.
Anything else we should know?
We are always looking for interns, and welcome college students from across the U.S. as digital interns! Give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.